Saturday, July 19, 2014

BARBACOA


Pristine beaches, oceans clear enough to see your toes, sprawling pools and care free living; for every positive aspect, tropical resort destinations (all-inclusive or not) are almost all fraught with the same disappointing negative - the food. Occasionally abysmal, frequently reasonable, and often good you'd never venture to call it great. While most of our travel plans begin with restaurant reservations, followed by flights, hotel accommodations and finally a mad scramble culminating in a premium fee for an urgent request to replace an expired passport, when you're destination is a beachfront resort, you're no longer playing by the same rules where celebrated restaurants oftentimes outnumber the days in your itinerary. On the resort, dish descriptions rarely translate the way you anticipate on the plate and in our experience, expat European chefs are frequently caught in some dejected time warp where terms like "deconstructed" have yet to be stricken from their vocabulary and reduced squiggles of cloyingly sweet,  cheap balsamic vinegar remain the go-to garnish. So you trust the resort employees to level with you and suggest a few good spots where they like to eat. It's a hit and miss strategy but with luck you might discover a spot that serves a refreshing conch salad, a fiery goat curry, seductively fatty, stewed ox tails or some terrific street tacos. For everyone else back at the resort, dinner is likely the promise of Caribbean spiny lobster... cooked to the consistency of a flip-flop.